According to the IRS, Aretha Franklin’s estate owes $6.3 million in unpaid taxes and $1.5 million in penalties for the tax years 2012-2018.
The estate is being audited by the IRS, which filed a claim in probate court in December 2018.
David Bennett, attorney for the estate says that they have already paid $3 million to the IRS and all returns have been filed. Bennett told the Associated Press, “We have disputes with the IRS regarding what they claim was income. We claim its double-dipping income because they don’t understand how the business works.” He added that Franklin had a lot of expenses whenever she toured.
New Yorker editor David Remnick said in an April 2016 profile of Franklin, that the reason she carried her purse onstage is, “She collects on the spot or she does not sing. The cash goes into her handbag and the handbag either stays with her security team or goes out onstage and resides, within eyeshot, on the piano.” Her attorney claims that she had a lot of paychecks lying around that she never cashed, and he had to have some of them reissued because they were so old. It seems that the IRS figured some of it as undeclared income and are going after it.